ST. ROSE CEO SAYS IF SUTTER DEALS, A DEAL COULD BE MADE IN 6 MONTHS
By Steven Tavares
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The Hayward City Council unanimously backed a resolution Tuesday night in favor of the plan to consolidate its own St. Rose Hospital with San Leandro Hospital under the umbrella of the Eden Township with the CEO of the facility saying he would hope to be the reconfigured healthcare district’s administrative leader.
While fielding questions from councilmembers, Michael Mahoney, the CEO of St. Rose, said the possibility of being named to the post in the future is “not a condition of the deal.” Dev Mahadevan is the current CEO of the Eden Township Healthcare District. He was hired over two years ago replacing the current executive officer of Sutter Health’s Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley. Members of the nurses union have quietly grumbled in the past about allegations Mahadevan was too cozy with Sutter’s demands in the months preceding the firing of the township’s general counsel in late December 2009.
Mahoney spent a busy Tuesday night in his effort to rally support for the plan ostensibly to avert San Leandro Hosptial from closing. His appearance before the Hayward City Council followed a 90-minute town hall in San Leandro, but many of his comments further elaborated on details of the proposal. If Sutter could be urged to support the plan, Mahoney said a deal could be hammered out in the next six months. It is the first time any official has detailed a loose time frame for the plans implementation. The District’s major public relations push this week also intended to feature a similar resolution by the San Leandro City Council last Monday, but Mayor Stephen Cassidy scuttled the discussion for another meeting saying certain fact-based portions of the resolution could not be verified by staff.
The 800-pound gorilla in the room—Sutter Health—has remained silent on the issue in many ways flows entirely on its will. Representatives told the San Leandro Patch earlier this week it has no intention of entering negotiations over San Leandro Hospital. A source close to Sutter told The Citizen last week, the health provider intends to follow through completely on its complaint against the District in Superior Court. A judge ruled in favor of Sutter’s claim to title of San Leandro Hospital last year. The District has filed an appeal of the decision.
Hayward’s resolution is viewed as a positive sign for backers of San Leandro Hospital by adding another city to the discussion. Hayward Councilman Bill Quirk, who authored the resolution, has been a mostly unnoticed ally of the movement from afar during the past two years. Although, the city’s assistant city manager admitted staff was in no position to analyze the details of the St. Rose plan, a report compiled by city staff acknowledged the proposal has not been vetted and mentioned a general belief the District’s current legal strategy is based on shaky ground.
Nevertheless, there appeared to be great respect and trust among Hayward councilmembers for Mahoney. “I don’t think you would put your own job on the line if you didn’t think it would work,” said Councilwoman Barbara Halliday. It was Halliday, though, he voiced some concern for the possible effects of the plan on Hayward’s residents. “We’re all watching in a little bit of horror at what’s going on in San Leandro and Castro Valley with Sutter and the Eden Township and how anguished our San Leandro friends are at the possibility their only hospital could be closed,” she said. “There’s a little bit of fear that could be us if there isn’t sufficient funding for both hospitals to stay open.”
Mahoney did not respond specifically to the question, but said “If San Leandro [Hospital] were close, it would have a major spillover effect on Hayward.”